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No More Pills, No Scars for Livingston Patients Suffering from Chronic Acid Reflux

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Memorial Medical Center-Livingston now offers a non-invasive treatment option for patients suffering from severe, chronic acid reflux.

Memorial physician Dr. Frank S. Walker, Jr., MD introduced the Transoral Incisionless Fundoplication (TIF) with EsophyX device and procedure to his practice in January. The procedure treats the underlying cause of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) without the need for any incisions. Before this new procedure, the only ways to treat GERD were invasive surgery or to take over-the-counter drugs or prescriptions for the remainder of the patient’s lifetime. The procedure using the TIF device changes all of that.

After determining a genuine need for the procedure and certain criteria are met, Dr. Walker gently inserts the EsophyX device and an endoscope into the patient’s mouth and through the esophagus while the patient is under complete anesthesia. Then from the inside of the stomach, a small portion of stomach is wrapped around the end of the esophagus, recreating the antireflux valve and keeping the acid from washing into the esophagus.

Patients must follow a strict diet for the next four to six weeks to ensure total relief from chronic acid reflux, according to Dr. Walker, but most no longer need any prescription or over-the-counter drugs.

“This relatively new procedure is not just for patients with a little heartburn. This procedure is for those people whose lives are controlled by acid reflux,” Dr. Walker said. “We are focusing on young adults who otherwise would require a lifetime of medication and the costs associated with this disease. This procedure is being introduced across the nation in small hospitals like Memorial Medical Center-Livingston, and we are proud to offer it to our patients.”

The mainstream approach to correcting GERD is conventional laproscopic surgery, an inpatient procedure with several days of recovery. However, the new TIF procedure reduces the patient’s stay in the hospital and overall recovery time. There are fewer adverse events and complications than conventional surgery. With having no external incisions, the patient does not scar and without internal cutting or dissecting of the body, the patient more rapidly recovers.

Although the procedure is not for people with mild cases of heartburn, in recent studies, TIF patients with severe symptoms reported an 80 percent improvement in their quality of life and a reduction or elimination of heartburn symptoms. Many discontinued using any prescription or over-the-counter heartburn relievers.

In December 2011, the American College of Surgeons validated the new procedures after a three-year study produced successful results.

For a consultation with Dr. Walker, call (936) 329-8200 or contact your primary care physician.

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